Aiken, SC (WJBF)- You may have seen Blessing Boxes located all over the CSRA. They are boxes filled with food and everyday supplies for those in need. The pandemic has led to shortages of supplies and volunteers for those boxes.
The co-founders of Blessing Boxes Aiken say that since the pandemic began, they are having a harder time keeping the boxes filled. Volunteers are staying away and all donations are going toward food, causing the boxes to fall into a state of disrepair.
“It’s a take what you need, leave what you can initiative. They’re not just for homeless people, they’re for everyday people who are in need,” said Melanie Inabinet, co-founder of Blessing Boxes Aiken.
Blessing Boxes Aiken started in 2017 with just three boxes in Aiken. It has grown to more than sixty boxes all over the CSRA. Inabinet said that due to the pandemic they are having to fill the boxes daily.
“It’s neighbors helping neighbors. We all get into predicaments and especially with the pandemic, a lot of families have been furloughed, laid off. They have had to take other jobs that pay less money. They’re just trying to make ends meet. They’re trying to pay their bills,” explained Inabinet.
The organization relies on volunteers to help fill the boxes as well as people to donate money and products. COVID has caused all of those things to be in short supply.
Jane Page Thompson is also co founder of Blessing Boxes Aiken. She said they have a great group of volunteers, but they still need help.
“And we’re really grateful to all of the volunteers that help us, but we need those everyday folks to step up and say hey, I’ll volunteer to monitor a box. Or I’m going to check this box every Wednesday day for the rest of the year,” explained Thompson.
Because people have been out of work, monetary donations to the organization have slowed as well.
The Blessing Boxes have gone from looking like this….
…to looking like this.
“So with the pandemic the need has been great and trying to decide whether you spend $300 on box repairs versus $300 on food…we decided to spend the money on the food. Which I think was probably the right thing to do,” said Thompson.
Blessing Boxes Aiken is asking for volunteers to donate time, products, box repair materials and money to help them continue to help the community.
“In times of struggle and in times , you know, that the world has gone mad. It’s always about your neighbor. That’s what human nature is about. And that’s what I hope people get from the Blessing Boxes,” Inabinet said.
Click HERE to donate money to Blessing Boxes Aiken. You can also mail a check to Aiken Habitat- Blessing Boxes: PO Box 3323, Aiken, SC 29802.
Click HERE for Blessing Boxes Aiken’s Facebook page.
Click HERE to sign up to volunteer.
Click HERE to find the closest Blessing Box.